Fishing and canneries

Japanese Americans found work at salmon canneries along the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington, and their labor was welcomed in Alaskan towns such as Ketchikan and Petersburg as early as the 1890s. They traveled by ship to the cannery towns, where they slowly developed small communities whose population swelled with the yearly arrival of workers. Issei (Japanese immigrant) entrepreneurs started the oyster industry from scratch in Puget Sound. Japanese American oyster farms became thriving businesses before World War II.

Fishing and canneries (171)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Takahashi v. Fish and Game Commission

171 items
Two men holding their halibut catch (ddr-densho-15-25)
img Two men holding their halibut catch (ddr-densho-15-25)
George Munato (left) and Takeo Dozen hold their catch of halibut from the Shear Water Bay area of Kodiak Island. The item on top of the halibut is a skate.
Men leaving for Alaska (ddr-densho-15-38)
img Men leaving for Alaska (ddr-densho-15-38)
These Japanese Americans are en route to Alaska to work in the canneries. Several can be identified: "Turk" Fujiya and Jim Yoshida stand fifth and sixth from the left; Ben Uyeno and George Yano stand third and second from the right. Ben Uyeno later became a well-known doctor in Seattle's Japanese American community. He was ...
Seed oyster boxes (ddr-densho-15-112)
img Seed oyster boxes (ddr-densho-15-112)
These boxes once contained seed oysters from Japan. The oysters were strewn in the beds where oyster spawn or "spats" would attach themselves to the shells. The oysters were harvested the following season.
Workers traveling to canneries (ddr-densho-15-21)
img Workers traveling to canneries (ddr-densho-15-21)
These cannery workers are aboard the steamship "Aleutian" on its way to Alaska. Three individuals are identified: Hiroshi Yamada (middle front), Hiro Nishimura (right front), and Kenny Nakatani (back right).
Two men fishing for trout (ddr-densho-15-91)
img Two men fishing for trout (ddr-densho-15-91)
Fred Kosaka (top) and (first name unknown) Sano fish for Dolly Varden, a type of trout. The two men were in Alaska to work in the canneries.
Unloading oysters from a bateau (ddr-densho-15-108)
img Unloading oysters from a bateau (ddr-densho-15-108)
These workers are unloading oysters from a bateau at the processing area. The oysters were shoveled into a hopper and onto a conveyor belt (left side of image) that led into the processing area, where they were opened.
Cannery workers (ddr-densho-15-41)
img Cannery workers (ddr-densho-15-41)
These workers are at Shear Water Bay near Kodiak Island. They appear to be playing cards. Left to right: unidentified, Tom Matsudaira (cannery foreman), "Cannon" Watanabe, (first name unknown) Yamasaki, and Paul Sakai.
Interior of cannery (ddr-densho-15-43)
img Interior of cannery (ddr-densho-15-43)
Interior of the cannery before it was opened for the season. Note that several of the machines are disassembled.
Canned salmon (ddr-densho-15-89)
img Canned salmon (ddr-densho-15-89)
The cans of salmon have been set out to cool after being cooked and cleaned.
New Washington company truck (ddr-densho-39-24)
img New Washington company truck (ddr-densho-39-24)
Before World War II, Japanese Americans worked in the oyster farming business in the Puget Sound area.
New Washington Oyster Company (ddr-densho-39-48)
img New Washington Oyster Company (ddr-densho-39-48)
Japanese Americans were active in oyster farming in the Puget Sound area before World War II.
Fishing boats hauling in the day's catch (ddr-densho-299-11)
img Fishing boats hauling in the day's catch (ddr-densho-299-11)
Caption on reverse: "FEC-49-1021. 8 Feb 49 / NRS Project: / Japanese fishermen haul in nets / off the coast of Odawara, Japan, / as the small boats are drawn to the / master ship, which is powered by / a deisel [sic] engine. When all boats / are together, the nets are emptied / and the day's catch loaded on the / master ...
The Northwest Times Vol. 3 No. 42 (May 25, 1949) (ddr-densho-229-209)
doc The Northwest Times Vol. 3 No. 42 (May 25, 1949) (ddr-densho-229-209)
"NLRB Turns Down Petition by Two AFL Unions for Vote Among Alaska Cannery Men" (p. 1), "Honors to GI Dead and Dedication of Monument Set" (p. 1).
The Northwest Times Vol. 2 No. 28 (March 27, 1948) (ddr-densho-229-98)
doc The Northwest Times Vol. 2 No. 28 (March 27, 1948) (ddr-densho-229-98)
"Nisei War Memorial Committee Awaits Fund Report from Tacoma; $9,053.65 Total as of March 25" (p. 1), "Two Nisei GI's Die in Crash of C-47 Plane" (p. 1), "Cannery Leaders Begin Talks" (p. 1),
Jimmie Omura Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1002-11-9)
vh Jimmie Omura Interview Segment 9 (ddr-densho-1002-11-9)
Memories of working in an Alaska salmon cannery as a teenager

This interview was conducted by sisters Emiko and Chizuko Omori for their 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon, about the Japanese American resisters of conscience in the World War II incarceration camps. As a result, the interviews in this collection are typically not life histories ...

Frank Miyamoto Interview IV Segment 31 (ddr-densho-1000-145-31)
vh Frank Miyamoto Interview IV Segment 31 (ddr-densho-1000-145-31)
Other memories of the Waterfall cannery: poor living conditions; layout of the cannery

This interview focuses on the narrator's experiences working in the Alaska salmon cannery system in the 1930s.

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